Skip to main content

Full text of "The Thoreau Society Bulletin"

See other formats




The Thoreau Society, Inc. is an 
informal gathering of students and 
followers of Henry David Thoreau. 
Albert Bussewitz, Milton Mass., 
President; Robert Needham, Concord 
Mass., Vice-President; and Walter 
Harding, State University, Geneseo 
N.Y. 1.44-54, Secretary-Treasurer. 
Annual membership, $2.00; life member- 
ship, $50.00. Address communications 
to the secretary. 



by Douglas A. Noverr 

David C. Hotch's article in the Winter, 1970 TSB 
(Concord's Coat of Arms) indicated Thoreau' s pro- 
bable ironic use of the proposed coat-i^f-arms or 
heraldio device for the town of Concord in the "Con- 
cord River" chapter of A Week . 

In his Journals Thoreau recorded at least three 
other examples of proposed coat-of-arms, two' of 
which were related to himself and the other to the 
town of Hull, Massachusetts. 

In his Journal entry for August 30, 1851 (Journal . 
II, 432-33) Thoreau states: 

One of these drooping clusters of potato balls 
would be as good a symbol, emblem, of the year's 
fertility as anything, — better surely £han a 
bunch of grapes. Fruit of the strong soil, con- 
taining potash (?).... Why not for, my coat-of-arms, 
for device, a dropping cluster of potato balls, — 
in a potato field? 

The hardiness and abundancy of the potato ball plants 
are further compared to the grape crop which supplies 

It seemed to me that the year had nothing so much 
to brag of as these potato balls. Do they not 
concern New-Englanders a thousand times more than 
all her grapes? In Moore's new field they grow, 
cultivated with the bog hoe, manured with ashes 
and sphagnum. How they take to the virgin soil! 

The "drooping cluster of potato balls" "in a potato 
field" suggests, or would symbolize, Thoreau' s desire 
to be rooted in the soil, hardy and bearing fruit 
with only rude cultivation. The heraldic emblem 
is notably anti -heroic, suggesting a family or in- 
dividual connection with the common, undistinguished 
products of the land. 

The other coat-of-arms Thoreau thought appropriate 
to himself was a "scrub oak." In his Journal for 
January 7, 1857 (IX, 207, 210) he wrote: "I should 
not be ashamed to have a scrub oak for my coat-of- 
arms." In this same entry he also records the com- 
panionship offered by a particular stand of scrub 

In a caucus, a meeting-house, a lyceum, a clubroom, 
there is nothing like it in my experience. But 
away out of the town, on Brown's scrub oak lot, 
which was sold the other day for six dollars an 
acre, I have company such as England cannot buy, 

FALL, 1970 

nor afford. This society is what I live, what I 
survey for. I subscribe generously to this — all 
that I have and am. 

Here again the scrub oak is an anti -heroic image, 
implying a connection with an unstately and stunted 
tree — a kind of natural starkness. But the stand 
of scrub oak also symbolizes solitude, tenacity and 
strength, and the only company really worth anything 
— oneself, unpretentious and alone. The scrub oak 
is not worth much commercially, but its value to 
the spirit is infinite. 

In writing about Hull, Massachusetts, Thoreau 
records the voracious nibbling of the sea at the 
shoreline. He noted that "the fantastic shore of 
a small island (Hog Island) inside of Hull, where 
everything seemed to be gently lapsing into futur- 
ity, as if the inhabitants should bear a ripple for 
device on their coat-of-arms, a wave passing over 
them, with the datura growing on their shores." 
(Thoreau' s line drawings of the island and a ripple 
omitted). (Journal . July 25, 1851, 3-44-45). 

Here the emblematic design ("the device") would 
be a "ripple" to show how the ocean claims the land 
and the natural elements of the shore — the "datura," 
which could be strong-scented herbs, scrubs, or 
trees of the nightshade family. This coat-of-arms 
also symbolizes, visually and dramatically, the 
powerful claiming forces of nature and time. Thoreau 
shows this in a detail following the passage quoted 
above, concerning the ripple as a heraldic device. 

A man at the telegraph told me of a white oak pole 
a foot and a half in diameter, forty feet high, 
and four feet or more in rock at Minot's Lodge, 
with four guys, which stood only one year. Stpne 
piled up cob-fashion near the same place stood 
eight years. (II, 3-45) 

Thoreau' s other three uses' of the coat-of-arms 
image and symbol shows his highly visual imagination 
and his ability to catch a complex of meanings and 
associations in a single image (as a heraldic "de- 
vice" must do for a coat-of-arms) . The two personal 
coats-of-arms are, in a sense, ironic; for they 
imply an exterior which appears to have little color 
or dignified, noble associations. But to Thoreau, 
the "drooping cluster of potato balls in a potato 
field" and the "scrub oak" mean a great deal in a 
personal and imaginative sense. As has been noted, 
the two are anti -heraldic devices, ironically imply- 
ing that the surface of something cannot possibly 
represent what the "device" and heraldic "field" 
actually mean. And, also ironically, the two per- 
sonal coats-of-arms do not connect Thoreau with any 

family or tradition; they connect him .with nature 
and the life of rich, meaningful solitude in nature. 
All three examples show Thoreau's visual and symbolic 
imagination and his interest in catching a complex 
of meanings and implications in a single object. 

Oxford, Ohio 



The main artery in the Estabrook Country, if we 
may distinguish a grass-grown cart track by such a 
name, is the Old Carlisle Road. It leads from Con- 
cord straight north through the woods to Carlisle, 
past the lime kiln, the lime quarries, Boulder Field 
and its moraine, the Estabrook cellar hole, the in- 
distinguishable road in to the Kibbe Place, and so 
to the IsaiahGreen place in Carlisle which is the 
only house in the area still standing and indeed 
still occupied. 

Another road, which is even more of a footpath and 
not even passable in a jeep, parallels the Old Car- 
lisle Road to the east. It goes past Punketasset 
Hill, Yellow Birch Swamp, Ebby Hubbard's Hill, and 
crosses a brook on one of those low stone bridges 
built by ox team a couple of centuries ago. At one 
time it continued north, passing the very doorstep 
of the Kibbe farm and ending at Isaiah Green's by 
way of his lower pasture. Only sharp eyes can fol- 
low it in this direction today. But a more travelled 
branch, kept open by horseback riders, makes an 
abrupt turn to the left and comes out on the Old 
Carlisle Road above the Estabrook Place. 

One of the pleasures of the Walking Society has 
been discovering the actual places which Thoreau 
mentioned in his walks. One of these whose location 
has remained a complete mystery to us, has been the 
Yellow Birch Cellar Hole. 

Thoreau spoke many times of that cellar hole 
northwest of Yellow Birch Swamp, with the great tree 
growing out of it. A man named Flint had started 
to build a house there and had framed it before de- 
ciding to live down by the river instead. There was 
a swamp in back of it. Sometimes Thoreau approached 
it from the Old Carlisle Road, and sometimes from 
Punketasset. A letter written by the Bartlett sis- 
ters well over 100 years ago mentioned walking out 
the Old Carlisle Road to Yellow Birch Cellar Hole. 

It seems incredible that a place so well-known in 
Concord only a generation or two ago should be com- 
pletely unknown today by even our oldest inhabitants, 
but this was the case. 

Since we had spent many days searching almost every 
foot of ground northwest of Yellow Birch Swamp, we 
were convinced that the cellar hole must be somewhere 
along the footpath between the stone bridge and the 
Old Carlisle Road. It would be highly improbable that 
we could plunge into a large wooded area at random 
and discover one small site, but we could try. Once 
more we entered the woods looking for breaks in stone 
walls where a road might once have gone through, 
and particularly investigating any higher ground which 
a prudent housebuilder might select to insure a dry 
cellar. We came across a large bed of lily of the 
valley, surely a sign of civilization, but no cellar 
hole was near it ... quite a mystery. In another 
place we found several pieces of cut granite. One 
encouraging sign was the presence of yellow birch 
trees here and there, grown up amid the struggling 
cedars and juniper bushes which bespoke former 
pasture land. 

Then we entered one of those inexplicable places 
sometimes seen in the midst of woods which resemble 
a park with great pines towering above the lower 
growth. As we penetrated deeper, the land began to 
rise, and there on its height, with a swamp directly 
behind it, was a cellar hole ... a large one at that, 
and what's more there were yellow birch trees grow- 
ing out of it. We could hardly believe that after 
all our searching, map study, and combing through 
the Journals to find references to it, that we had 
at last found this elusive spot ... the Yellow 
Birch Cellar Hole. 

Foundation stones were visible here and there, 
the sloping sides were covered with ferns and 
rattlesnake plantain, there were a couple of fresh 
foxholes, nearby a ditch had once been dug though 
we found no well, and at the edge of the swamp an 
old stone wall ran along through the woods. 

Now at last we can follow in Thoreau's foot- 
steps a century and a quarter later, and walk as 
he did through the beautiful Concord woods to the 
Yellow Birch Cellar Hole. 


. . WH 

Arendt, Hannah. "Reflections: Civil Disobedience," 
New Yorker . Sept. 12, 1970. pp.. 70-105 

Baldwin, Henry I. Monadnock Guide . Concord, N.H. 
[58 State St.]: Society for Protection of N.H. 
Forests, 1970. 128pp. $2.00. This handy little 
pocket guide to Thoreau's favorite mountain is 
absolutely essential to anyone who wants to 
climb that mountain. It not only maps and de- 
scribes all trails and all points of interest, 
but also covers the history, geology, flora and 
fauna. Thoreau is quoted or mentioned on vir- 
tually every page. 

Basile, J. L. "Thoreau Pines: Summer, 1969," 

Thoreau Jour. Quart .. 2 (July 15, 1970), 6. Poem. 

Borst, Raymond R. "Thoreau's Still-Born Book," 
Twisted Dial . 1 (Sept. 1970) Publication of A 
Week . 

Edel, Leon. "Henry D. Thoreau," in Sherman Paul, ed., 
Six Classic American Writers . Minneapolis: Univ. 

• of Minn., 1970. pp. 160-194. A reprint of the 
recent Minn, pamphlet. It is a tragedy that such 
a medieval view of Thoreau should be perpetuated 
by one of our leading university presses. Edel 
still approaches Thoreau from the viewpoint of 
James Russell Lowell. 

Emily Dickinson Bulletin . "Appeal for a Summer An- 
nual Pilgrimage." 13 (June, 1970), 47-49. Includes 
a history of the founding of the Thoreau Society. 

Graham, Lloyd. "Thoreau Early Liberal," Buffalo 
[N.Y.] Courier-Express . .Sept 27, 1970. 

Harding, Walter. "Henry David Thoreau, Walden, or 
Life in the Woods ." in Hennig Cohen, ed., Land - 
marks of American Writing . Washington, D.C.: 
Voice of America, 1970. pp. 150-1 60. 

."Report from Walden," Yankee . 34 (Sept. 1970), 


Hoffleit, Dorritt. "Thoreau on Nantucket Island," 
TJQ. 2 (July 15, 1970), 15-16. 

Kasegawa, Koh. "Hemingway & Thoreau," Studies in 
English & American Literature . [Aoyama Gakuin 
Univ., Tokyo] 16 (1970), 1-6. Text in Japanese. 

Kirby, David. "Metaphor in the Final Paragraphs of 
'The American Scholar' and 'Economy,'" TJQ , 2 
(July 15, 1970), 17-18. 

Lane, Lauriat Jr. "Finding a Voice: Thoreau's Penta- 
meters," Emerson Soc. Quar .. 60 (1970), 67-72. 

Nelson, Carl. "Sound Knowledge in Walden ." TJQ , 2 

(July 15, 1970), 1-6. 
Noverr, D. V. "Thoreau's 'May Morning,"' TJQ , 2 

(July 15, 1970), 21. a poem. 
Pearson, Norman Holmes. "Thoreau's Walden and Things 

Seen" in American Literary Fathers . Kyoto: Apollen- 

sha, 1965. pp. 27-35. 
Petteys, D. F. "Proem (to H. D. T.), TJQ., 2 (July 15, 

1970), 21. A poem. 
Rodale, Robert. "Wild Apples over Indianapolis," 

Organic Gardening & Farming . 19 (Oct. 1970), 21-24- 

Analysis of Thoreau essay. 
Sacramento [Calif.] Bee . "Thoreau's Pond Remains the 

Same." June 28, 1970. 
Stowell, Robert F. "That Other Drummer," Christian 

Science Monitor , Aug. 17. 1970. Poem. 
Thoreau, H. D. The Artist of Kouroo . [Harper Woods, 

Mich.]: Adagio Press, 1970. 4pp. No. 6 in "The 

Collected Ephemera of the Adagio Press. ".A typo- 
graphical delight. 
. A Plea for Captain John Brown . Ithaca, N.I.: 

Glad Day Press, [1970], 24pp. "Printed ... for the 

Peace & Freedom Party, State Univ. College, Buffalo, 

. Walden Wa Hai El Ghabah . Trans, into Arabic by 

Amin Mursi. Cairo: Franklin Books, 196? 
W[illiems], D. H. "Thoreau and the Art of Walking," 

Cosmos Club Bulletin [Washington, D.C.], 23 (Oct. 

1970), 6-8. 

We are grateful to the following for information 
used in this bulletin: T. Bailey, R. Curran, M. 
Campbell, R. Chapman, R. Dickens, J. Donovan, J. 
Davies, R. Epler, F. Fenn, F. Flack, L. Graham, D. 
Harrison, G. Hasenauer, D. Hannan, C. Hoagland, E. 
Hunsaker, J. Jones, B. Klee, D. Kamen-Kaye, K. 
Kasegawa, D. McWilliams, A. McGrath, M. Niblock, C. 
Orr, P. Oehser, L. Simon, R. Schaedle, R. Stowell, 
H. Van Fleet, J. Vickers, S. Wellman, and P. Williams. 
Please keep the secretary informed of items he has 
missed and new items as they appear. 


Walden Editions on Display 

MAKING PLANS for the display of editions of "Walden" in the Concord Public 
Library are Mrs. Edmund Fenn of Concord, Mrs. Marcia Moss of the library staff, 
Mrs. Caleb Wheeler of Concord and Anton Kovar of Arlington. 

Little by little, over the years, the 
Thoreau Society has acquired a col- 
lection of pamphlets and 
miscellaneous objects kept in a 
closet in the Concord Free Public 
Library. This week they have been 
given space in the enlarged library in 
a bookcase in the magazine alcove. 
With them an unusual collection of 
books went on display. It is a collec- 
tion of editions of "Walden" from 
the rare first edition up to modern 
foreign language translations. In all 
the collection occupies four yards of 
shelf space and contains 130 

Anton Kovar of Arlington, who 
made the collection, first became in- 
terested in Thoreau in high school 
and has been a devoted member of 
the Thoreau Society for 25 years, 
since he helped Roland Robbins ex- 

cavate the house-site at the pond. 
Now retired as a public school 
teacher in Arlington, he organized an 
elementary school orchestra there 
and still teaches stringed instru- 

Week after week he haunts the 
second-hand book stores, sometimes 
with good luck, oftener with no luck. 
Gradually the dealers began letting 
him know when a new 
"Walden"came in and he now has all 
the out-of-print editions. The rare 
ones took longer to find. 

Since the copyright lapsed a few 
years ago, paper-back and other edi- 
tions have multiplied almost beyond 
counting but the collection has some 
of these as well as all the standard 
editions, including the limited 
manuscript and several bibliophile 
editions. There is one printed in 
World War II for the armed forces 
which was later withdrawn in the 
McCarthy era as possibly sub- 

Mr. Kovar is still looking for new 
editions but is also interested in As- 

At the annual meeting in July the society alloca- 
ted five hundred dollars in honor of Mrs. Caleb 
Wheeler to the care of the Thoreau Society Archives 
in the Concord Free Public Library. With her usual 
efficiency Mrs. Wheeler immediately went to work 
on the archives, placing everything in acid-free 
folders and boxes to prevent deterioration. She 
also arranged for the photographing of more than 
100 of Thoreau's surveys now in the Concord library 
so that scholars using them would no longer have to 
handle the original surveys, and for the annotating 
of the photographs by Mrs. Marcia Moss, the library's 
reference librarian. 

As Mrs. Wheeler reports: The surveys, as the 
library owns them, are in varying sizes up to four 
feet and there is danger of tearing them when any- 
one looks through them. Of course Thoreau made 
many more surveys now scattered in private hands. 
The photographs and editors' notes will serve as a 
handy index to the originals and a reminder of the 
tremendous amount of work turned out by Thoreau, the 
surveyor. At the annual meeting, Mrs. Wheeler was 
authorized to inquire into the cost of printing. 
The cost, she reports, seems prohibitive but if it 
ever proves feasible, this work will make them 


As residual legatee of the estate of the late 
Ira Hoover of Wilmington, Delaware, the Thoreau 
Society has just received the sum of $6,562.36, 
which is being set aside as the "Ira Hoover Fund." 

Ira Hoover was long one of the most active mem- 
bers of the Thoreau Society, journeying up to Con- 
cord for the annual meeting from Philadelphia or 
Wilmington, Delaware, as long as he was physically 
able. He served a number of terms as a member of 
the society's executive committee. One of the 
most ardent of Thoreauvians, he published a pam- 
phlet tribute to Thoreau in 1917 at the time of 
the centennial of Thoreau's birth. A constant 
reader of Thoreau's works, he copied out by hand 
for a number of his friends 365 of his favorite 
quotations from Thoreau as personalized "Thoreau 
Calendars." He died on Feb. J+, 1969 at the age of 
84.. See Bulletin 107 for a memorial tribute. 

MEETING by Charles W. White 

[The following resolutions, submitted at the 1970 
annual meeting, were ruled out-of-order by the act- 

ing president but are herewith published as a mat- 
ter of general interest.] 

Once again the annual meeting of the Thoreau 
Society will emphasize one aspect of Thoreau' s life 
and ignore his political and social ideas. With few 
exceptions (i.e. the donation of $500.00 in honor of 
Cesar Chavez at the last meeting), the annual meet- 
ings of past years seem to be out of step with the 
Thoreau who speaks so powerfully to the problems of 
modern America. There is no great evil in nature 
walks, slides of pretty scenes, photography contests 
exhibits of Thoreauviana, and flower arrangements. 
These activities are harmless enough. But Thoreau 
and what he stood for should not be co-opted into 
boosterism for the Concord Chamber of Commerce. 

Admittedly, Thoreau loved natural landscape. 
Woods, ponds, flowers, animals, the blue sky - all 
of these moved him to incredible emotion. Perhaps 
he could have gotten more from an afternoon with a 
woodchuck than most men could from a whole night 
with Cleopatra. However, as a transcendental! st 
Thoreau understood that nature was primarily a ve- 
hicle, not an end in itself, through which he could 
achieve moral insights. And for him, morality usually 
led to commitment and action. Where is the morality 
of the Thoreau Society in 1970? What are its commit- 
ments? In "Civil Disobedience" Thoreau wrote, "If 
I had known how to name them, I should then have 
signed off in detail from all the societies which 


Expressly for Electrotyping, 



I never signed on to; but I did not know where to 
find a complete list." If he were alive today, 
would he sign off from the Thoreau Society? 

Before we completely become a House-and-Garden 
Club, the Thoreau Society should seek redemption 
in the following manner: 

(1) We should pass a formal resolution condemning 
United States' policy of intervention in Southeast 
Asia and call for immediate withdrawal of all our 
troops from that ravaged land. Are tl^ere not enough 
parallels between the Viet Nam War and the Mexican 
War of 184.6-47? The Massachusetts Democratic Party 
(not a particularly progressive group) at their 
recent convention urged the immediate return of 
American /soldiers from Viet Nam. Can a society that 
bears the name of Henry David Thoreau do less? 

(2) We should condemn our elected officials in 
Washington for tolerating and, in fact, encouraging 
the continued persecution of Black Americans. When 
Thoreau delivered a defense for Captain John Brown 
and an attack on slavery at the Concord Town Hall 
on October 30, 1859, the local populace did not 
support him. Even the town abolitionists thought 
his action "inadvisable." But Thoreau spoke anyway 
- not because it was popular, but because it was 

right. How many descendants of those nineteenth 
century Concordians and the rest of white America 
by action or apathy still work against the 400- 
year-old struggle by black people for equality? 

(3) We should actively fight those who are des- 
troying our environment. We should never forget 
those numerous passages in Walden that attack a 
system which brutalizes man and rapes nature. It is 
of little comfort to take walks in Concord and en- 
virons, looking at a few splendid scenes, while Bos- 
ton and every other major American city is covered 
with soot and overflowing with garbage. Instead of 
having photography contests, the members of the 
Thoreau Society might better spend their time demon- 
strating en masse at the business office of some 
major polluter - Coca Cola, Boston Edison, take your 

The Thoreau Society should not become a group of 
effete intellectual snobs (to coin a phrase), but 
should join the "peaceable revolution" that Thoreau 
urged in "Civil Disobedience." As he said, "Cast 
your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but 
your whole influence . " 

Bill Lee. 

At the suggestion of Clayton Hoagland of Ruther- 
ford, N.J., his friends Lynn and Bill Lee, profes- 
sional New York graphologists, have submitted the 
following analysis of Thoreau' s handwriting. 

Doing an analysis of Henry David Thoreau posed 
difficulties beyond the evaluations of contempories, 
known or unknown, since history, through its dis- 
torting lensy, creates legends difficult to refute. 
Could we, as gestalt graphologists, concentrate 
entirely on his script, ignoring the wealth of in- 
formation available, and develop a psychological 
impression of Thoreau the man? This was the first 
question we asked ourselves when the intriguing 
idea of an analysis was presented. We could and 
did, as the following paragraphs will reveal, even 
when this meant contradicting known material. 
Space limitation preclude a complete characteriza- 
tion, therefore, we concentrated on his drives and 
portrayed not what he was, but why. 

In the days of the steel nib pen, when ball points 
were unthought of and felt tip pens not even a dream, 
Thoreau was able to write with amazing speed. This 
directly relates to the fantastic tempo of his physi- 
cal, emotional and mental actions and reactions. He 
had an inordinate amount of drive and follow-through, 
and, this speed factor coupled with the extreme con- 
nectedness of his writing revealed certain facets 
of his make-up. He controlled any situation he 
found himself in, either by force or by logic and 
reason. Moreover, he enjoyed friction and needed 
resistance to be at his best, so much so, that if 
none existed he would create it. He loved to buck 
the system, to fight and change his environment. 

His script was highly unconventional, testifying 
to the extreme creativity of the writer, therefore, 
the presence of the lack-lustre conventional "I" is 
indicative of the conflict between self -perception 
and life reality. Society really not understanding 
his genius and his protective answer, his tendency to 
treat himself as more average than he really was. 

Thoreau wrote an arcadian linear hand composed 
of angles and thread, without a trace of the soften- 
ing garland. He pinpointed himself as the strong 

minded individualist, the non-conformist disinclined 
to yield, the man who sought to impose his will upon 
the environment. It also reveals, along with other 
factors, his frequent shutting out of the world and 
most of its people. 

The degree of slant represents the degree to which 
the ego inclines towards its objective, hence the 
degree of communicativeness. Thoreau's slant, if 
coupled with large writing, would indicate a greg- 
arious individual, expansive and flamboyant. But 
as it is, with almost illegible words, it indicates 
an individual guarding against becoming a prey to 
the demands of society. There is a desire for the 
company and love of others overcome by a distrust 
and perhaps even a fear of outsiders. 

There was a basic inner conditioning of creative 
talent, especially music (his writing is similar 
in many respects to that of Beethoven) which leads 
to the thought that he might have inclined his genius 
to composing if cqnditions had been different. 

His was a affirmative philosophy of life strug- 
gling with depression. He refused to be chained to 
rigid and traditional rules and concepts. 

He had a spontaneous understanding of others and 
could grasp a conclusion before the thought was half 
completed. This led to an impatience with those 
whose mind needed explanations and a sarcastic, 
sometimes brutal tongue. He was not above using his 
shrewd and cunning mind to gain his objective, nor 
laying traps for the unwary to prove a point. He 
was original, prophetic and crammed full of rebel- 
lious energy. He also had an extreme need to control 
finances-which definitely influenced his life style. 

Creative people are especially observant and they 
value accurate observation, telling themselves the 
truth more than other people do . They are indep- 
endent in their cognition, and also value clearer 
cognition. They will suffer great personal pain to 
testify correctly. They are motivated to tiis value 
and to the exercise of this talent, both for self- 
preservation and in the interest of human culture 
and its future. Their universe is thus more complex- 
and in addition, they usually lead more complex lives, 
seeking tension in the interest of the pleasure they 
obtain upon its discharge. 

Both more primitive and more cultured, more des- 
tructive and more constructive, crazier and saner 
than the average person. So was Henry David Thoreau. 

Lynn and Bill Lee 


by John C. Broderick 

On June U, 1970, at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in 
New York City, Charles Hamilton Galleries held its 
4.2nd auction. The catalog described many manuscripts 
and memorabilia offered, some of exceptional lit- 
erary and historical significance, some merely cur- 
iosities. (Among the latter are numerous checks made 
out by Jack Ruby to Running Creek Kennels, "probably 
for the care of Ruby's dogs, of whom he was very 

The eye of the true Thoreauvian, however, is cer- 
tain to be caught by item 139, a 37-page manuscript 
diary kept by the actor Errol Flynn while on a "re- 
cruiting expedition" among the natives of New Guinea 
in 1933. Since the catalog devotes more than half 
a page to describing the diary, one need not own or 
consult it to have some notion of its contents. 
Flynn discloses his place in several different lit- 
erary traditions by devoting his diary to 1) a manual 
on the "Art of Seduction, " 2) complaints against 

Lutheran missionaries, 3) an account of an attack 
by leeches while he was, swimming. Of these, per- 
haps only the attack on the missionaries has the 
authentic Thoreauvian ring. 

"Towards the end" of the diary, however, the cat- 
alog tells us, "Flynn records his philosophy of 
life." Encountering the quotations from this por- 
tion of the diary, one is forced to acknowledge 
Flynn as a great stylist, in prose as well as other- 

...I am going to China because I wish to live de- 
liberately....! am leaving of economic necessity front the essentials of life, to see if I 
can learn what life has to teach and above all 
not to discover, when I come to die, that I have 
not lived... I am going... to acknowledge not one 
of the so called social forces which hold our 
lives in thrall & reduce us to economic depend- 
ency. The best part of life is spent in earning 
money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty 
during the least valuable part of it. To hell 
with money 1... I am going to live. . .Spartan life 
..I refuse to accept the ideology of a business 
world which believes that man at hard labour is 
the noblest work of God... 

The catalog entry concludes: "A fascinating original 
journal, capturing the spirit of a man who lived life 
truly, with an independence achieved by few. " There 
can be no question of Flynn' s independence of many 
"so called social forces," but readers of Walden 
may well doubt the originality and independence of 
his prose. 

But all this may be unfair. Perhaps the original 
diary indicates, as the catalog does not, FLynn's 
acknowledgement of indebtedness to Henry Thoreau. 
Perhaps Flynn, in his work in New Guinea, used as 
hi s manual , The Service . Or Qualities of the Recrui t. " 
In any event, it is well worth having one more evi- 
dence of Thoreau's 20th-century outreach, ancj so 
colorful a one at that. After all, what could be 
more su/Ltable than going to China to live deliber- 
ately? Didn't Thoreau himself propose at Walden 
Pond ^bo open trade with the Celestial Empire? The 
ramifications are endless. Perhaps Thoreau's known 
fondness for the Robin Hood ballads predisposed Flynn 
to accept one of his most famous film roles. 

So here's to Errol Flynn, Thoreauvian, who spent 
a lifetime fronting the essential facts of life. 
FLynn's journal sold for $160. 

'The dating may be in error. According to Who' s 
Who in America (various volumes), Flynn became a 
patrol,, officer in the New Guinea Government Service 
in 1929- In 1932 he joined the Hong Kong Volunteers. 

^Charles Hamilton Auction Catalog No. 4-2 (New York, 
1970), p. 33. 


[Editor's note: John Davies was for many years a 
close associate of Henry Salt, the English biographer 
of Thoreau. Now 86, he is retired and lives in 
Broad stairs, Kent, England.] 

I was arrested by your notice of George Sturt on 
the current "Bulletin" and by your quotation from 
his recently published Journals. 

His psychological analysis of the relationship 
between Thoreau, the leisured man of letters and 
deep thought, and the Canadian Woodchopper, the 

unlettered, unsophisticated, childlike son of manual 
toil is, to use your apt word "perceptive" and true. 
The quality that this ill-assorted pair had in common 
was the spontaneous joy of life; not arising from 
any favourable circumstance but just the satisfaction 
of being alive, nowadays sometimes observed in child- 
ren; not elsewhere. "There were times when I could 
not afford to sacrifice the bloom of the present 
moment to any work.... I sat in my sunny doorway from 
sunrise to noon. I grew at these seasons like corn 
in the night" There is no mention of being deep in 
thought and the inference is that, in the manner of 
the Easjtern mystics, thought ceased at these times 
and the mind was i still . Who amongst us nowadays would 
be capable of just sitting with no other satisfaction 
or occupation than just being alive? 

It is clear that George Sturt writing as George 
Browne, had ,a deep and original understanding of the 
essential Thoreau. "There is no man who speaks to 
me through his books so intimately as Thoreau." 
One can go all the way with him in that. 

I recollect Henry Salt's referring perhaps more 
than once to George Sturt, no doubt in connection 
with the mutual Thoreau interest, but I cannot recol- 
lect the tenor of Henry's observation. They may 
have visited each other when the Salts lived at 
Tilden Surrey not far from Durham. Might it be that 
the two men did not see eye to eye in their appraisal 
of Thoreau, Salt ' s approval being from the point of 
view of literature and Sturt' s from that of medita- 
tive vision. Sturt 's observation on reading Salt's 
Life of Thoreau "Salt .... is vastly sympathetic... 
as far as he can follow Thoreau" seems significant. 
It must be remembered, however, that besides Thoreau, 
Salt wrote of those kindred spirits, Shelley and 
Richard Jeffries whose literary expression like 
Thoreau' s often reaches the verge where verbalisa- 
tion trembles on the brink of mystical insight. 

Sturt 's comment "But by carefully observing in 
one's own present life every circumstance that as- 
sists or hinders consecutive thought it might be 
possible to throw much light on the obscurity," is 
a comment on the ancient text "Know Yourself" and 
in the true spipit of Thoreau 's withdrawn insight. 


On February 25, 1970, Pulitzer Prize winning poet 
Anthony Hecht gave a reading at the State University 
College, Brockport, New York. I had the good for- 
tune to dine with him before the reading, and since 
I knew he was just finishing a new translation of 
Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes , I asked him if he 
had read Thoreau' s translation of that work. He 
had not, but he immediately began talking about The 
Maine Woods . During the past summer he had gone to 
Rome to work on his translation, and had brought 
with him a copy of The Maine Woods , "to have a re- 
minder of the American landscape with me." In fact, 
he told me that I would find "a bit of Thoreau" in 
a poem about the New England landscape that he had 
composed in Rome. 

At a party after the reading, we resumed our con- 
versation and he praised Walden and Cape Cod , par- 
ticularly the latter for its depiction of the rugged 
sea coast. The Maine Woods came up again, and I asked 
him what he thought of Thoreau' s "cosmic scare" 
atop Mount Ktaadn. He did not consider it as a 
moment in which Thoreau' s transcendental view of 
nature was seriously upset — as some critics have in- 
sisted — but found it reminiscent of Kant's and Burke's 

description of the experience of the "Sublime" — 
whereby nature, "tamed" by man supposedly, suddenly 
overwhelms an individual. 

State Univ. of N. I. : Brockport 


Cartoonist Dahl of the Boston Herald Traveler con- 
tinues his series of anti -pollution cartoons of 
Thoreau revisiting Cape Cod with one in the issue of 
Sept. 1, 1970. 

The Big Little Store, 1671 Washington St., San 
Francisco, sells buttons with Thoreau' s name and 
portrait (from the postage stamp) for 250 each, 
5/$1.00, 50/$5.00 or 125 for $10.00. 

The Society for the Protection of N. H. Forests, 
58 State St., Concord, N. H. , sells post cards fea- 
turing a Thoreau quotation, "I long for Wildness..." 
for $1.50 for two dozen. 

Where is Thoreau' s famous quotation concerning 
circumstantial evidence — the trout in the milk? 
Most books of quotations cite the Journal Nov. 11, 
1 854-, but it does not seem to be there. 

Mary Sherwood has recently presented to the Thoreau 
Society Archives a copy of her pamphlet on Joe Polis. 

A Handel sman cartoon in the Sept. 19, 1970 Sat . 
Rev , shows two elite looking gentlemen watching a 
street riot from the windows of their club and 
asking, "Why can't they lead lives of quiet despera- 
tion like the rest of us?" 

The University of Maine and the Thoreau Fellowship 
are jointly sponsoring a drive to raise funds for a 
proposed Thoreau Center of Ecological Studies on 
the Orono campus. 

Proposals have been made for a planned community 
of 15,000 people near Pineville, N.C., to be named, 
of all things, "Walden." The developers said the 
name was chosen to reflect "a quiet dignity and 
beautiful serenity — a fine type of living." Houses 
will cost a minimum of $50,000. The project will 
also include a large shopping center, a country club 
and more than sixty acres of office buildings! 

According to the ATLANTIC MONTHLY for October, 
1969 (p. 131), the late Edward R. Murrow kept hang- 
ing on the wall of his CBS office the quotation from 
Thoreau, "It takes two to speak the truth — one to 
speak and another to hear." 

The May, 1970, issue of LIBERTY: A MAGAZINE OF 
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM entitles its lead article by 
Richard H. Utt on conscientious objectors "to the 
beat of a different drummer." 

An article by Allen R. Dodd in the June 13, 1970 
issue of SATURDAY REVIEW on living the simple life 
is entitled, "Okay, Thoreau, We Know You're in 
There . " 

A Note by the editor in the March 1970 issue of 

After reflecting on his life and observations, 
I have concluded that most men are something like 
Thoreau, and are dissatisfied with what we know 
as civilization. They would like to be vagrants, 
more or less irresponsible. They resent the neces- 
sity of hustling and scheming and toiling to pay for 
a lot of things and a lot of activity they neither 
need nor enjoy. 

Why don't they quit as Thoreau did? 
The answer is women. Thoreau, remember, had no 
women around him. Most men do. 

There is no moral to be drawn from this conclu- 
sion. The world is happier and better fed because 
men are not allowed to slump as did Thoreau. But 

the credit belongs to the women. 


With the permission of the University of Microfilms 
of Ann Arbor, Mich. , we continue printing herewith 
reproductions of abstracts of dissertations on Thoreau. 
The full dissertations are available from University- 
Microfilms at the prices given at the ends of the 


(Order No. 69-3231) 

Lyle Donovon Domina, Ph.D. 
University of Missouri, Columbia, 1968 

Supervisor: Dr. Roger K. Meiners 

Although a few critics have posited Henry David Thoreau 
as a conscious influence on Robert Frost, the purpose of this 
study is to demonstrate a significant set of affinities in the 
thought and attitudes of the two men. For this reason the study 
goes beyond the Walden that Frost is known to have admired 
and examines Thoreau' s thought wherever it may be found in 
his published works. The study is concerned with the literature 
of the two men; biographical parallels are noted only in passing. 

The method of the study is to examine, first of all, the "New 
England mind" as it develops in the Puritans; this mind set is 
then traced into the twentieth century through such writers as 
Emerson, Dickinson, and Robinson. Because in recent years 
such emphasis has been placed on the pessimistic side of 
Frost, and because Thoreau is generally thought of as highly 
optimistic, the study examines Frost's optimism and Thoreau's 

In comparing their attitudes toward life, one finds that 
both Frost and Thoreau found it necessary to withdraw to a 
position from which they could look in both directions. They 
withdrew to a position between man and nature, for example, 
and between spirit and matter because they were determined 
to see the proper relationship between the pairs. At the same 
time, their retreat provided them with a set of significant 
experiences as a basis for determining the nature of life. In 
this insistence on experience, and in the manner in which each 
becomes unequal to the task, the two men show their participa- 
tion in the Romantic frame of mind. 

The attitudes which Frost and Thoreau shared, moreover, 
found similar expression in their work. Both created a myth- 
ical country and a mythical hero seeking wisdom in that 
country. The mythical and Romantic quest, however, is 
domesticated to New England; hence the quest is "reduced" 
to the mundane activity of going for a walk. 

In this trope of the walk, then, the artistic attitudes and 
techniques of each writer become fused. It allows them the 
careful examination of the thing-in-itself that is so important 
to them; at the same time it allows each writer to bring in 
the spiritual and religious overtones which they find equally 
important. Both Frost and Thoreau are committed to the 
view that life is a process, and the walk is perfectly adapted 
to expressing this attitude. Finally, the leisurely process of 
walking demonstrates their common technique of proceeding 
slowly and indirectly to the moment of insight; hence it pro- 
sides a structural unity for their works which has sometimes 
thought to be lacking. 

The significance of this study lies in its picture of literary 
continuity, its truly three dimensional view of the thought of 
each man, and a fresh insight into what they were attempting 
in their work: and it resolves, or at least confronts, the 
dichotomies that critics have sometimes found in their writ- 
ings. M $3.15: X $11.05. 243 pages. 

Three broad aspects of the relationship emerge from this 
study. Thoreau is seen as the fulfillment of Emerson's prin- 
cipal ideas--the new type of scholar-hero, the enlightened, self- 
reliant individual Emerson had called for in his earliest writ- 
ings. But he was also the complement of Emerson's personality. 
A continuing, mutual influence is demonstrated. Thoreau, by 
his fulfillment of Emerson's doctrine, confirmed Emerson's 
faith in the truth and applicability of his ideas, and it was by 
his own striking individuality that he was able to accomplish 
this. Finally, as Emersonianism did not encourage anyone to 
remain a disciple, so, at the very period of his finest embodi- 
ment of Emerson's essential ideas, Thoreau began (with tragic 
consequences) to break free from the domination of Emerson's 

The treatment is primarily chronological, only occasionally 
thematic. The human, psychological dimension in their rela- 
tionship is vital and basic to everything else, and could best be 
shown by beginning where their story as friends began. 

Chapter I emphasizes Emerson's magnetic personality, for 
it was Thoreau's love for and identification with Emerson as a 
man that preceded his acceptance of Emerson's principles. It 
finds overwhelming evidence of Thoreau's unlimited emulation 
of Emerson on the level of personality, and this creative identi- 
fication is justified on psychological, religious, and classical 

Chapter II is concerned with Thoreau's early impact on 
Emerson--as great writer in embryo, as potential hero, as 
the American Scholar. Emerson's journal, letters, conversa- 
tions, testify to the great impression Thoreau made on him, 
and his writings of 1840-41, particularly, show clear signs of 
Thoreauvian influence, especially when he is setting forth the 
ideal of the heroic truth-seeker--Man as Reformer. 

Chapter in shows how Thoreau's identification with Emer- 
son on the personal level was reflected on the intellectual. 
From the beginning his work reveals the all-pervasive influ- 
ence of Emerson on his thinking, even as his own originality 
of character remained intact. 

Chapter IV covers the years 1841-43, when their friendship, 
evidenced in numerous ways, was at its height: Thoreau lived 
in Emerson's house, The Dial was being published, Emerson 
introduced Thoreau to Hindu philosophy, they shared many ex- 
periences (including tragic ones), Thoreau followed Emerson's 
steps as a lecturer, idolized Emerson's wife. Their writings 
on Friendship are examined, and entries in Thoreau's journal 
on friendship are shown to be pointing almost always to 

Chapter V studies the Walden years, when Thoreau devel- 
oped the Emersonian life to its logical conclusion. The two 
men are seen in continuing harmony, but at the end of the 
period Thoreau emerged a stronger individual than ever, al- 
ready half-liberated from the bonds of his discipleship. 

Chapter VI analyzes the hidden crisis in their relationship 
and focuses on "Civil Disobedience" --which is seen as a sym- 
bolic expression of Thoreau's compulsion to be free of the 
sage's domination—and on the many disillusioning letters 
Emerson wrote from England that reflect tendencies toward 
worldliness and "socializing." 

Chapter VII sees the post- 1848 period as one of increasing 
strain, and finds the change reflected in their writings. In their 
journals the course of their disintegrating friendship is graph- 
ically portrayed. Thoreau turns to mostly barren studies of 
Nature in compensation, as Emerson becomes more and more 
a man of the world. 

Chapter VIII gives an evaluative summary of the whole 
story and its chief significances. 

Microfilm $5.05; Xerography $17.80. 393 pages. 

"If not good, why then evil, 
If not good god, good devil. 
•Goodness!' You hypocrite, come out of that, 
Live your life, do your work, then take your 
hat." — HDT 


(Order No. 67-13,301) 

Paul Hourihan, Ph.D. 

Boston University Graduate School, 1967 

"We must learn to rewaken and keep ourselves 
awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite 
expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us 
in our soundest sleep." Walden — HDT 


Major Professor: Kingsbury Badger 

Emerson and Thoreau were the two great minds of their age 
in America. Closely related for many years, sharing intimate 
experiences, they would have recognized one another's special 
quality as no one else could have. A study of the inner dynamics 
of their personal relationship would be of great importance in 
understanding their intellectual relationship. But such an in- 
vestigation has never been undertaken. 

We are indebted to Mrs. Thomas McGrath of Concord, 
Massachusetts for providing us with a copy of this 
hitherto imprinted song written for Thoreau's Har- 
vard Class of 1837 by his classmate John Weiss. Can 
you imagine Thoreau lifting "the sparkling bumpers 
high a full libation [to] pour"? (OVER) 



























"^ n x> 

I" 1 "C: r 77< 


JOHN WEISS, Jr., Worcester, Mass. 

Tune, — "Auld Lang Syne." 

How faintly on the midnight air 

The parting echoes float ; 
In vain we touch the harp, its chords 

Return no wonted note. 


Deep sorrow clouds the youthful brow, 

And dimmed is every eye 
That flashed so brightly when the heart 

And cup were mantling high. 

We gaze upon the hallowed spot, 

The well-known scenes recall, 
And sigh to think the dream is past, 

So sweet, so dear to all. 


Deep sorrow clouds the youthful brow, 

And dimmed is every eye 
That flashed so brightly when the heart 

And cup were mantling high. 

Yet friends must feel 't is sad to part ; 

The brightest dream must fade ; 
But memory keeps the treasure safe 

From dark oblivion's shade. 


Then strike the harp to gayer strains ; 

What though the dream has flown? 
We hail with joy the heavenly power 

That makes the past our own. 

Each bosom kindles at the thought ; 
Why mourn we for the past ? 
£4 If part we must, fill high the cup, 
¥1 Bo merry to the last. 



Then fill the cup, and raise the song 

In rapture to the skies ; 
Each moment, with the wine we pour, 

Must sparkle as it flies. 

Bring forth the festal harp that once 

To notes of gladness rung ; 
And pour the mirth-inspiring wine 

Its golden chords among. 


Then lift the sparkling bumpers high, 

A full libation pour ; 
And list 




the glittering chords we strike, © 

Sound plaintively no more. @ 







We pledge the blushing goblet round, 

In friendship's sacred name ; 
While brighter yet the crystal gleams 

With memory's quickening flame. 


Fill high, for Bacchus crowns the cup ; 

Like flowers of rosy hue, 
The nectar shines amid the leaves 

■He scatters to our view. 

If sorrow be our future lot, 

This parting glass will throw 
Its radiance through the gathering gloom, 

And banish all our woe. 


If pleasure fills the goblet up, 

Our joy will brighter shine, 
Reflected from the glass we quaff 

To days of "Auld Lang Syne."